Operational efficiency is essential to meet organizational objectives and ensure high-quality service. Therefore, different sectors are always trying unique methods to keep their operations streamlined. The healthcare sector comes under the same banner. The healthcare sector is under a tremendous burden to have the best operational services while making a high return on investment. The best way to ensure hospitals have maximum efficiency is through automation.
Manual labor will still be necessary to oversee the tasks. But, the bulk of work processes needs centralized regulation. An excellent centralized system should utilize algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to help deliver services. These recommendations can help the non-clinical and clinical staff to provide healthcare services more cost-effectively and efficiently.
Some examples of better operational efficiency include a more resourceful staff schedule and proper utilization of operating rooms. If management facilitates these changes, more patients will get the opportunity to access quality healthcare. Also, hospitals will be able to maintain their revenue. Following this notion, here’s what hospitals can do to enhance operational efficiency:
1. Have a more Skilled Administration
Non-clinical and administrative staff play a vital role in the delivery of quality patient care. Nonetheless, they must be encouraged to upskill and improve their managerial expertise. Fortunately, the internet makes this extremely easy. On-job staff can enroll in online MHA programs no GRE required and increase their know-how right away. If hospitals are planning to go automatic, the skills professionals pick up in these programs will be helpful.
The healthcare sector receives copious data, and manually sorting through it is impossible. When the administration understands how algorithms and predictive analysis work, they will have no trouble handling large amounts of data. Additionally, improved administrative competence will result in better financial management, housekeeping, cleanliness, PR, etc.
2. Better Utilization of Operation Rooms
Hospitals typically have more than one operating room to accommodate the number of surgeries in a day. Before the introduction of automation, hospitals worked on block scheduling. That is, resources get allocated to different surgeons on a rotation. If an operation gets canceled/missed, that block goes to another surgeon.
Unfortunately, traditional block scheduling methods are slow. Hospitals rely on fax machines to inform a doctor they get the right to a missed block. But, there are also times when a surgeon misses the fax, and that block needs rotation again.
Operating rooms bring in the most revenue for hospitals. So there needs to be a better scheduling system. Hospitals should use mobile technology and cloud computing to enhance scheduling. This helps doctors automatically move up a slot and they are informed right away.
3. Reduction in Waiting around Infusion Centers
Infusion centers are consistently in use since patients need all sorts of infusions. With the help of a similar algorithm as mentioned above, hospitals can divide how patients can use each infusion chair. Suppose a hospital has 35 chairs in one infusion center. The algorithm can help the management allocate time slots for every chair. There can be separate rows for one-hour infusions, 5-hour infusions, 8-hour infusions, and so on. That means patients in a rotation can utilize each row properly. Hospitals can keep a 10-minute interval between every patient as they set up their infusion bags. The maximum number of chairs will be in use through this algorithm system, thus increasing overall efficiency.
4. Better Emergency Department Handling
The ER is by far the busiest department in a hospital. Numerous patients are coming in and going out, and it gets overcrowded within minutes. Patients don’t only stop by for treatment, but they need to collect lab results, medicines, etc.
In most cases, the ER is heavily understaffed, and the patient-to-doctor ratio throws it off balance. Hospitals can prevent this situation from occurring by using software to divide resources within the department. Hospitals can use emails to provide patients with a copy of their lab results. If a patient needs to get their blood drawn or an X-ray, a sequence can get introduced. It ensures that each patient receives a turn in a chronological manner. The sequencing method can also allocate rooms for patients with extensive needs and those with mild conditions. As a result, this reduces wait time and ensures that the staff can check every patient properly.
5. Better Discharge Plans
The extensive manual paperwork and then waiting for the system to pick up the data is tedious. Hospitals can introduce an electronic method of data collection to prevent the lag in data transfer. The same solution should be applied to patients when they need to check out of the hospital. A healthy patient discharging is crucial for hospitals. It reflects directly on a hospital’s reputation, management, and how well a patient is cared for. And a lousy discharge process can taint the overall experience.
Electronic health records can help streamline the discharge process. It contains information on the frequency of patient visits, verifies their insurance policy, and sends patients an electronic discharge summary. In short, the minute a patient enters the hospital, electronic data collection can help track their progress till they leave. Electronic data collection can also provide doctors with an estimated date for discharge using predictive analysis.
Every sector is looking for ways to streamline its Operational Efficiency. Since hospitals see a large number of the population daily, they need help with their operations. Traditional methods of hospital management are slow; hence adopting automation is the best solution. Hospitals should also hire more skilled workers to ensure the big data gets adequately utilized. Automation can help staff make better use of operating rooms, divide infusion chairs and help emergency rooms look after patients more efficiently. It can also help hospitals prepare a detailed discharge sheet with all the verifications done right away. If hospitals continue with more automation, the healthcare sector will improve drastically.